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Washington State University
History | The Hanford History Project

Through the Hanford History Project, WSU leads a coalition of community partners in preserving—and enabling research on—the history of the greater Hanford community.


Hanford B Reactor under construction, 1944
Hanford B Reactor under construction, 1944

From its crucial role in the Manhattan Project through the present-day focus on environmental cleanup and lingering health effects, the history of the Tri Cities is fundamental to major historical questions regarding national security, urban planning, the American West, science and technology, the environment, and other topics.

Through contract with the US Department of Energy and donations from community partners, the Hanford History Project is developing an archive and museum from major collections of never-before-seen documents and unique artifacts. Current priorities include digitizing our collection of oral histories and connecting them to relevant researchers. Student interns are hard are work cataloging the archival collections we have received from the Department of Energy, after which we will turn towards developing finding aids and making the collections accessible to scholars.

Eventually, we hope to establish a museum and archival reading room near (or at) the planned visitor center for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, of which Hanford represents one-third (along with Los Alamos and Oak Ridge). This will help in bringing local residents and tourists into these historical conversations.